While the Soviet Union gave the ANC military support during its battle to end apartheid, Karyn Maughan writes, Vladimir Putin's Russia has an increasingly toxic hold over South Africa - and it threatens to turn this young democracy into a pariah state.
Jacob Zuma and his supporters
have made no secret of their fawning reverence for Russian President Vladimir
Putin - with the former president publicly crediting the Kremlin leader with
saving his life from an alleged poisoning attempt.
"At that time, I was indeed sick… It was very different. At that time, I contacted my friend [Putin] in a country that we went to, to say that I'm sick.